BY ROMULUS LINNEY
ROUND HOUSE THEATRE
Why do I love this play so much?
Because it’s masterful storytelling. Romulus Linney reminds us that we don’t need pageantry or technical wizardry for plays to live and breathe. The story is woven from historical events, folklore and fiction. It’s told through the simple essence of theatre: actors on a stage speaking words.
Because it takes me on a journey, far from traffic and busy signals into a world of almost elemental passions and events. I’m transported by the rhythms and sounds of Linney’s words, and brought back to myself because they ring true with what’s inside me. The longing for Home, on earth and on high; the joyousness of a family coming together; the sense of loss with time’s passing and the dissolution of that joy.
And finally, because we so often see Appalachia through stereotype and distorted clichés which demean more than celebrate the uniqueness of its culture. Here’s a writer who understands what most urban (and northern) writers have never understood – the soul of those people smoldering beneath their toil and poverty, fueled by their harsh, lonesome world. And the fierce dignity that drives them to sing.
Nominated for 7 Helen Hayes Awards, including Outstanding Director and Outstanding Sound Design; Winner of 5 Awards, including Outstanding Resident Production
“The results are plain, direct, compelling. This is an unpretentious an evening of theater as you can imagine: six actors, a stage of unvarnished planks and no props, save a crate and a rolled-up blanket that serves as a baby. Linney’s words do it all, summoning up vistas of scary beauty and passions of elemental force...Director Edward Morgan, clearly attuned to the cadence and poetry of Linney’s words, knows just how little illustration those words actually need. The stripped-to-the-bone staging is taut and disciplined.”
– The Washington Post
“There’s a startling down-to-earth sensuality to all this in Edward Morgan’s starkly unsentimental production for the Round House Theater…Round House’s acting company has seldom been so in command.”
– Washington City Paper
“You’re going to have to search far and wide to find acting as honest and true as this. This riveting, compelling production of “Heathen Valley” is another crowning achievement for the Round House.”
– Journal Newspaper
Lights: Jane Williams Flank
Costumes: Jane Schloss Phelan
Set: Joseph B. Musumeci Jr.
Sound: Neil McFadden
Music: Steve Hickman, Jon Newlin, Edward Morgan
Dance: Kathryn James